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‘Use of force is still on table,’ ECOWAS asks Niger junta to reconsider stand



The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday asked the Niger Republic military junta to restore democratic order in the country.

The President of ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, made the call in a chat with journalists in Abuja.

He urged the coup plotters to rethink their stand, adding that the West African bloc’s option of military intervention is still very much on the table.

The military junta headed by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani has been under increasing pressure from ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and the rest of the international community to restore President Mohammed Basoum who was ousted from power on July 26.

The West African leaders had a few weeks ago activated the region’s standby force to push out the junta from the presidential palace after they rebuffed appeals to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Tchiani had during a meeting with the ECOWAS delegation led by Nigeria’s former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, proposed a three-year transition programme in the landlocked West African country.

In Friday’s meeting with journalists, Touray stressed that ECOWAS was resolute in its determination to make military incursion into democratic structure in the sub-region become a thing of the past.

READ ALSO: ECOWAS delegation’s talk with Niger junta fruitful, military approach unlikely – Abdulsalami

He said the proposed military intervention would be a legitimate force allowed under ECOWAS statutes and agreed by member states.

The ECOWAS official, however, pointed out that the intervention was not a declaration of war on Niger.

Touray said: “Even now, it is not too late for the military to reconsider its action and listen to the voice of reason as the regional leaders will not condone a coup d’etat.

“The real issue is the determination of the community to halt the spiral of coup d’etat in the region.

“I would like to say the use of force is very much on the table, as are other measures we are working on.

“If peaceful means fail, ECOWAS cannot just fold its hands.”

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